College area scout Todd Brunner continues with his Brunner's Blog, all week long from Mobile, Alabama, where the entire 49ers coaching and scouting staff have converged for the annual Senior Bowl.
So, after some down time, I'll have daily blogs for you this week from Mobile, Alabama, home of the annual Senior Bowl. I'm not sure why it got started in Mobile, but that's where it's been for as long as I can remember.
This game has always featured the best senior prospects out there so it has a huge draw. Virtually every coaching staff, every scouting staff, and general managers come to town to watch these practices. Unless you were in the playoffs or are going to the Super Bowl, you are likely to have representation down here.
It's also a chance for two pro staffs to coach and it's even better for the teams who get to coach it, which we fortunately took advantage of last year and again this year. It gives our coaches a real feel for these kids after a week sitting in the meeting rooms and working with them out on the field.
Strong impressions can really be made during this week. Look at last year when we drafted four guys who were down here. Manny Lawson, Parys Haralson and Marcus Hudson were all guys our staff worked with directly, but Michael Robinson also made a huge impression by what he did against our team in the game.
So, it's obviously a big week and most scouts from around the league flew in either Saturday night or Sunday morning to Mobile. I hoped to make it in time to watch the first playoff game, but I had a delay in Philly and a delay in Atlanta and was a little off my scheduled arrival.
It's always good when you get down here because you are constantly running into other coaches and scouts who you've maybe worked with or just developed a relationship with through the years. As scouts, we rarely see our own coaches, much less coaches from other teams so it's always fun catching up. You'll run into guys at your hotel, the airport, the local favorite restaurants, practice, over at the convention center where the players are stationed, etcetera…
The hotel downtown where both teams stay is always crowded. There are agents there talking to their players or trying to get the word out on guys who might not have been invited to play in this game. Sometimes if they keep at you, you decide to go back and watch a tape of whoever the guy is they are trying to push and take an extra peak.
As the players checked in yesterday, I know our staff was trying to grab whomever we could, guys in our area, and even guys outside our area for some quick interviews. There were other staffs, agents, even financial advisors trying to attract new clients doing the same.
Last night, Coach Nolan and his staff met with the players for the first time. I think it was just a general meeting to go over the schedule and general expectations. Scot McCloughan also addressed the players.
Usually the scouts stay downtown, but this year we are over at the Marriott out in Point Clear. We had a deal worked out with the new Renaissance being built that was supposed to be done by this time. We found out back in November that it now won't be finished until April so we had to hurry to secure rooms and ended up at the Marriott. It's nice, but it's 25 miles outside of town so we've got a little commute now.
We had to make sure to leave a little earlier this morning to make it for the height and weight session. Basically players on both squad come in to the room in their underwear and get measured while everyone sits and jots down those measurements and any other notes on a player's physique. I'm sure the players are glad that's over with, at least until the Combine.
The weather is pretty miserable right now. It was pouring this morning and is still overcast with intermittent rain. Hopefully it'll clear out of here.
I got a chance to meet our new defensive line coach. He seems like a good guy. I haven't talked to our special teams coach Al Everest, but he's across the room right now meeting with two of our other coaches so I'll go say hello when they are done with their planning.
The first practice is this afternoon. One team practices out at Fair Hope while the other practices at the stadium where the game is played. This is the only day that the two teams practice at the same time. The rest of the week is staggered so that everyone can attend both practices.
Scot and Dave McCloughan basically told us to go to the practice that had more players represented from our areas, so myself, Justin Chabot and Roylin Bradley will head over to the North practice. Oscar Lofton, Trent Balke and Matt Malsapina will go to the South practice.
I'll check in again tomorrow and let you know how practice went.
- Todd Brunner